General Teacher Preparation Policy
The state's approval process for teacher preparation programs should hold programs accountable for the quality of the teachers they produce. This goal was reorganized in 2021.
Minimum Standards of Performance: Colorado does not set minimum standards of performance for the data that programs must report.
Program Accountability: Although Colorado does not set minimum standards of performance, the state reviews programs and determines whether programs are approved, placed on conditional approval or probation, or are terminated. However, the standards on which accountability outcomes are based are not necessarily performance-based criteria with clearly stated minimum thresholds.
State Report Cards: Colorado publishes data on its Educator Preparation Program Report Dashboard. These data include institutional-level data on demographics and data on enrollment, completion, new teacher employment and the context of employment for new teachers, new teacher performance and retention, and licensure pass rates of program completers.
Program Approval Process: Colorado maintains full authority over teacher preparation program approval.
Colorado Revised Statute 23-1-121, 22-2-112 Educator Preparation Program Report Dashboard http://www.cde.state.co.us/code/eppreport Reports http://highered.colorado.gov/i3/Reports.aspx
Establish the minimum standards of performance for each category of data.
Colorado should establish precise minimum standards for teacher preparation program performance for each category of data it collects to help clarify expectations regarding program quality.
Ensure program accountability decisions are based on minimum standards of performance.
While Colorado has the structure of a program accountability system, including follow-up actions for programs failing to meet standards, it has not set minimum standards it can use to implement this accountability process. As Colorado further develops its accountability system, it should ensure that the system is sufficient to differentiate performance among programs, including alternate route programs, and that it is clear at what point a program's approval will be revoked. For programs exceeding minimum standards, Colorado should consider finding effective ways to disseminate best practices.
Colorado was helpful in providing NCTQ with facts necessary for this analysis. Colorado indicated that the department approves the content for all traditional EPPs and approves all aspects of the program for alternative EPPs. Alignment to the Teacher Quality Standards, content area standards and English language learner standards is strictly monitored. Each program is held accountable for content coverage through the authorization/reauthorization process, which is contingent on adequate coverage of each of these standards. The state statute and State Board of Education rules regulate all preparation program content and are the basis for the Department of Education's state reauthorization process. Colorado also provided the statute regarding the Department of Education's oversight of EPP content and programming which documents the content standards
Additionally, Colorado indicated that the Department of Higher Education also has policies as outlined by the Colorado Commission of Higher Education. That information has not been detailed by our review here because we assume this same review was sent to the Colorado Department of Higher Education to provide feedback on their statutory and policy implications in this section.
1D: Program Reporting Requirements
The state should examine a number of factors when measuring the performance of and approving teacher preparation programs. Although the quality of both the subject-matter preparation and professional sequence is crucial, there are also additional measures that can provide the state and the public with meaningful, readily understandable indicators of how well programs are doing when it comes to preparing teachers to be successful in the classroom.
States have made great strides in building data systems with the capacity to provide evidence of teacher performance. These same data systems can be used to link teacher effectiveness to the teacher preparation programs from which they came. States should make such data, as well as other objective measures that go beyond licensure test pass rates, central components of their teacher preparation program approval processes, and they should establish precise standards for performance that are more useful for accountability purposes.
National accrediting bodies, such as CAEP, are raising the bar, but are no substitute for states' own policy. A number of states now have somewhat more rigorous academic standards for admission by virtue of requiring that programs meet CAEP's accreditation standards. However, whether CAEP will uniformly uphold its standards (especially as they have already backtracked on the GPA requirement) and deny accreditation to programs that fall short of these admission requirements remains to be seen. Clear state policy would eliminate this uncertainty and send an unequivocal message to programs about the state's expectations.